I was married once………………. Just typing those words is weird for me. It doesn’t feel like I personally was married at one time. I was such a different person. That is so far in my past and I am so disconnected from it that when I speak of it, I feel like I am talking about someone else; and in a way I am.
I am not really one who subscribes to the notion that ‘everything happens for a reason’ or that ‘every shitty situation is a learning experience’ or any of the faith-based sayings that people use to explain things (I admit, I am not a religious person at all). I believe some of those things in certain situations. For example, I believe SOME things happen for a reason. I also believe that sometimes, shit just happens. There is no reason and I have learned that if I try to find a reason for everything, I drive myself insane.
My marriage though, whether it was supposed to be or not, was a lesson; was a growing experience. It was a shit show, but I am so different now than I was then. Good and Bad. When I think about it now, I cannot believe I was ever even married to that man. The woman I am now would NEVER. That change in who I was and who I am happened slowly and then all at once. I feel like the day I decided I was ‘done’, I morphed into this different person; or maybe I just went back to being who I had lost before the relationship.
I remember once he realized that I was serious and was moving on (no one ever thought I would. I was with him for 10 years, 2 kids and had put up with a lot and stayed) he suddenly became interested in saving a relationship where he had not invested any time in saving before. He would plead to get back together. One day I turned to him (we had been split for a year) and I said, “You would not like who I am now.” He seemed baffled. To him I was the same woman standing in front of him as I had always been..on the outside. But on the inside, I was different. I was determined, I was protective of my children and my wellbeing, I was smarter, and I was fed up.
“What do you mean,” he asked as if he was confused (although confused seemed to be a permanent state of mind for him back then: insert eyeroll: )
“You wouldn’t like who I am anymore. I am not the same dumbass that used to put up with your shit”.
He looked shocked and slightly defeated. So many times, I had been manipulated, emotionally broken down, I know there was a sense of panic in him realizing, this time, I was really done. There was no turning back. That’s when things got ugly of course…but I won’t get into all of that right now.
It takes a lot for me to give up on a relationship. That hasn’t changed about me (as I am working on letting a current situation go years later). That has always been a strength and a weakness about me. I don’t give up on relationships easily, but I also put up with way more crap than I should because of this, always hanging on to hope that things will get better. But, when I finally am done and decide to walk away, that’s it, I am done and there is no turning back. This usually stuns people because I come off like the ‘sure thing’. The girl you can take for granted because I will always be there. Its frustrating honestly that my loyalty has put me on people’s back burners so many times…but there is also something incredibly satisfying once I am able to walk away. To know that you are looked at as weak and that someone thinks they can treat you however they want is painful, but to get to that ‘fed up’ point and walk away is empowering. To show them that I don’t NEED you (as much as my loyalty makes me seem needy), I wanted you, I wanted to make it work, I am a fighter, but I also will eventually wave the white flag and walk away. To know what was never expected of me is exactly what I was finally able to do, feels good.
I don’t have great self-esteem, thanks to a lot of emotional abuse growing up. So that I think is partly why I hang in so long. Why I accept things I shouldn’t. I’m emotional. I cry. I’ll stay. I’ll put up. Especially where my kids were involved. I think he took advantage of these weak qualities in me. The sap in me. The hopeless romantic. The one who wants to be loved.
Even the nicest (or dumbest, whatever I was) person gets tired. One day I woke up after a hellish period in the relationship with the awful words he had said to me over the years, ringing in my head. “I would have never married you had I known what I know now.” “No one is ever going to want you with two kids, one with special needs,” “You’re just like your mother,” “ what you won’t do for me someone else will,” and all of the times I had been left alone while he bar hopped. I laid there and thought about who I was. I had been a devoted partner. I worked full time, I cared for our children, cared for his children from a previous relationship, cooked, cleaned supported him through a mental break down, etc. I wasn’t perfect, but I realized, I didn’t deserve the way I was being treated. I didn’t necessarily think “I can find someone who treats me better” because honestly at that point I didn’t care if I saw another penis again, that’s how done I was! But I also didn’t have the self esteem to even think anyone else would want me (still struggle with that), but I didn’t care. I was consumed with a 6-year-old with special needs child and a toddler. They were my life, they were all I needed. And so finally, much to his surprise, I ended it and kicked him out.
I remember he didn’t take much stuff. I know he thought I was bluffing, but I wasn’t. I had two girls to raise, to set examples for. I was no longer going to let them see me emotionally beat down by a man they called daddy. I felt like even at a young age, they needed to be shown that you don’t ever have to feel stuck!!! Yes, I would have less, I would struggle, but I will have been damned to stay in that any longer.
As time went on he would call to tell me he was coming to take the tv, or the bed or whatever else he felt belonged to him and would leave me with very little.
I will never forget one of these phone calls when I had just had enough of him thinking he was hurting me with STUFF. “TAKE IT,” I yelled “Take whatever you want from the house, I don’t need it. Just leave me my children and GO!” That is all I cared about. My girls. I didn’t need anything else.
After that I started boxing up his stuff and giving it to his friend to deliver to him. I felt free. I felt strong. I felt ALL SET.
A lot happened after that (I’ll save that for other posts) but from then on it was me and my girls who were 6 and 2 at the time, against the world. They are now 20 and 16. Every struggle I went through with that jackass was worth it only because I got them. So, take your shit, take your ego. I have my girls. I got the better end of the deal.